Dumb crook leads police to sophisticated counterfeit cash

An Action News Five crew happened to be hungry when this crime went down. They rolled up at McDonald's just in time to see a man in custody for trying to pass a fake 100 dollar bill. An employee became suspicious and alerted officers who were dining here at the exact same time.

"Typically, you see counterfeits usually in 20's, 50's 100's," says Memphis Police Lt. Dennis Toll.

A handful of counterfeit cash was recovered at McDonald's. The suspect may have been dumb, but his money isn't.

The 100 dollar bills were once a 5 dollar bills.

"But when you hold it up to the light you look at the hologram image and it's Abraham Lincoln," says Toll.

Toll is with MPD's Economic Crimes Bureau. He says the bills were submersed in a chemical that removes the ink but retains the hologram.

"So, they use the paper it was printed on originally," says Toll.

It's a process that can trick those special counterfeit pens many merchants use.

"There was a point in time when everybody started to make use of the pens, so they looked for other ways to try and counter-act that," says Toll.

Since counterfeiters have seen some success, better pens are being used, and many clerks are better-trained.

But it doesn't hurt when a suspected crook makes a stupid move.

As in all cases involving counterfeit cash, Memphis Police have notified the Secret Service. The man arrested at McDonald's has yet to be charged.


to email Jason Miles.